Associate Professor, Elementary and Literacy Education, Associate Department Head, Graduate Studies Director
Education has always been important in Amy Broemmel's family. Her great-grandfather was a college graduate around the turn of the century; her grandmother received a master’s degree in art education in the 1930s; and both of her parents are educators. Broemmel says she can’t recall a time in her life when she didn’t think she would become a teacher.
She received a BS in education from Eastern Illinois University (EIU) and chose to continue on for a master’s degree. Broemmel spent nearly all of her extra time working in a third-grade classroom while finishing her MS at Southern Illinois University (SIU). She says that experience helped immensely when she was hired to teach second grade in a fast-growing community in northern Illinois. Broemmel worked closely with the five other second-grade teachers to support the district reading curriculum with literature-based instruction. Literature, in addition to process writing, reading aloud, and integrated theme study were the key literacy components of her classroom. She had numerous opportunities to work with student teachers during the time she spent teaching second grade, and those interactions spurred her to pursue her doctoral degree, so that she could play a more direct role in teacher education. Broemmel returned to SIU and graduated in 2000 with a PhD with an emphasis in literacy.
She spent two years at EIU teaching literacy courses and supervising undergraduates in their first field experiences. She then spent a year at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, teaching both graduate and undergraduate literacy courses, working with both students in their first field experiences and student teachers, and building a partnership with a local elementary school.
She arrived at UT in 2002 and found her niche coordinating the Fountain City/Halls Professional Development School site. During the regular school year, she supervises and mentors the interns assigned to those two schools, teaches 12 hours of graduate coursework to them onsite, and provides support for the mentoring teachers at each site. She also teaches graduate literacy courses during the summer session.
Broemmel had the privilege of serving as a 2003–05 regional co-team leader for Children’s Choices, a joint project of the International Reading Association and Children’s Book Council. This project supports her love of children’s literature and effectively gets it into the hands of both students and teachers.
She loves infusing children’s literature into the curriculum and worked with a colleague in science education to analyze and evaluate selected science-related picture books. She is also in the beginning stages of developing a study, in collaboration with a public school teacher and former intern, in order to investigate the impact of early process writing on students’ future writing attitudes and achievement.
However, much of her research interest lies in teacher education. Broemmel's past research investigated the relationship between student teachers’ levels of preparation and practicing teachers’ perceived importance of selected areas related to reading instruction. She is currently pursuing a related topic, researching how coursework and experiences influence preservice teachers’ beliefs about reading instruction. She is also involved in a study examining changes in preservice teachers’ perceptions of their own abilities over the course of their internship year.